Russian Defense Ministry deploys S-300, S-400 air defense missile systems in Arctic

The anti-aircraft missile regiment stationed in Novaya Zemlya has become the first full-fledged military unit of the Northern Fleet formed on the islands of the Arctic Ocean.

MOSCOW, December 9. The Kola antiaircraft defense formation has put on combat duty to protect the Russian state border a new air defense missile regiment of the Northern Fleet, spokesman for the Northern Fleet Captain 1st Rank Vadim Serga said on Wednesday.

“The regiment has been formed and is permanently deployed on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. It is equipped with the S-300 modernised air defense missile systems, capable of repulsing enemy’s airborne threat, hitting its targets within the range of several hundred kilometres,” he said.

The anti-aircraft missile regiment stationed in Novaya Zemlya has become the first full-fledged military unit of the Northern Fleet formed on the islands of the Arctic Ocean. Until now, only a few units and groups have been formed on the archipelagos of the Arctic islands.

On Tuesday, a source in the General Staff of the Russian army told TASS that Russia has formed and deployed to the Arctic this year two S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) separate air defense (AD) missile regiments. “Two S-400 regiments have been activated and deployed to the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and the settlement of Tiksi in Yakutia this year,” the officer told TASS at an international forum that focused on discussing the Arctic’s present and future.

According to the source, Pantsir-S AD (SA-22 Greyhound) missile/gun system batteries have been deployed along with the S-400 regiments to provide close-in defense for the S-400s. In addition, a Bastion (SSC-5 Stooge) coastal defense missile battalion has been deployed to Novaya Zemlya. “The units are on alert round the clock,” the source stressed.

In addition, the source said, coastal defense missile, AD missile and AD missile/gun units have been deployed and placed on alert duty on all other Arctic islands and in some areas on Russia’s Arctic mainland, too. “Aircraft control posts and radio-technical, radar and space surveillance unit positions have been established in all of their stations along the Northern Sea Route from the Kola Peninsula and Novaya Zemlya to Anadyr and Cape Schmidt in the east. All of them are on alert duty,” the source summed up.

The General Staff source told TASS previously that six Russian military bases had been set up in the Arctic, specifically on Kotelny Island (New Siberian Islands), Sredny Island (Severnaya Zemlya), Alexandra Land (Franz Josef Land Archipelago), the Rogachyovo settlement on Novaya Zemlya, Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt in the Chukotka Peninsula. The Russian Federation is reported to plan the construction of a total of 13 airfields and 10 technical radar posts in the Arctic.

In recent years, Russia has been building military infrastructure in the Arctic proactively. The Unified Strategic Command comprising, inter alia, a number of units from the Western, Central and Eastern military districts was formed on the basis of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet in late 2014. In addition, new large units are being activated for the new command, two motor-rifle brigades in particular.

The S-400 Triumph is a Russian-made long/medium-range surface-to-air missile system designed for dealing with all current and in-development aircraft and aerospace-launched weapons. The Triumph destroys aerodynamic targets (e.g. cruise missiles and tactical and strategic warplanes) at a range of 400 km and ballistic threats (battlefield ballistic missile warheads travelling at a speed of 4.8 km/s) at 60 km. The S-400’s radars have a 600-km target acquisition range and its 48N6E3 missiles engage aerodynamic targets at an altitude of 10-27,000 m and ballistic ones within the 2-25,000-m altitude bracket. – TASS, Russian News Agency.

Russian aircraft in Syria hit 204 targets over 24 hours — Russian Defense Ministry

The aircraft made 82 combat sorties, including 32 of them at night.

MOSCOW, December 9. Russian warplanes have made 82 sorties, including 32 under night cover, in Syria over the past 24 hours, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov told journalists on Wednesday.

“Over the past 24 hours, Russian warplanes have made 82 combat sorties to attack 204 terrorist targets located in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama and Homs,” the general said adding that 32 sorties had been made at night time.

Su-24M and Su-34 bombers as well as Su-25SM attack aircraft are attacking the targets of the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria under the cover of Su-30 fighter jets. All the planes returned to Hmeymim air base upon completion of their combat mission.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were redeployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.

On October 7, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.

In mid-November, Russia increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria to 69 and involved strategic bombers in strikes at militants. As the Russian Defense Ministry reported, Russia’s air grouping has focused on destroying terrorist-controlled oil extraction, storage, transportation and refining. – TASS, Russian News Agency.

How People Of Chennai Are Coming Together To Help Flood-Affected

CHENNAI:  As thousands of people stand losing their homes and belongings to the Chennai floods, several residents of the city have got together to help each other with food, clothing and essential items.

Taking the help of social media, they are mobilising volunteers and identifying areas that require help.

Volunteers from the Rotary Clubs of Madras North and West have put in place five centres over the last one week providing food packets to 2.75 lakh people.

“It’s a spontaneous response. All our clubs have joined together besides many non-rotarians,” said Past District Governor G Olivannan.

From Wednesday, the group has stopped supplying food and has switched to sending hampers with fourteen items including clothes, bad sheets, mosquito repellants, water, sanitary napkins collected from across the state.

Prashant, a young volunteer who takes supplies to communities in need often wading through knee-deep to neck-deep waters for more than a week, explained, “We first survey going to many areas and identify areas where help is required. Then we seek police help to distribute smoothly. This way we ensure the same groups don’t get everything.”

Another student volunteer said “Now there’s an abundant supply of food. Now people need clothes, blankets, torches, candles etc to start rebuilding their lives.”

In another part of Chennai, Merlia Shaukath has taken time off work to collect medicine and distribute them to prevent disease in vulnerable areas. “Skin infection, dehydration, diarrhea are on the rise and through these non-prescription drugs we are attempting to stop any disease breakdown,” she said.

Grace Beryl Caroline, a young woman, is working to provide books, note books and stationery to all the children whose books got destroyed by floods. “Otherwise there could be school dropouts,” she said.

More than 250 people were killed and thousands displaced as much of Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu were submerged in flood waters after the highest rainfall in nearly a hundred years lashed the state over the past month.

On December 1-2 Chennai Received More Rainfall in Over 100 Years: NASA

WASHINGTON:  On December 1-2 flood-ravaged Chennai received more rainfall in 24 hours than it had seen on any day since 1901, according to NASA.

The space agency yesterday released an animated map that provides satellite-based estimates of rainfall over southeastern India on December 1-2, accumulating in 30-minute intervals.

The deluge followed a month of persistent monsoon rains that were already well above normal for Tamil Nadu, NASA’s Earth Observatory said in a blog post.

At least 250 people have died, several hundred have been critically injured, and thousands affected or displaced by the flooding that has ensued.

NASA said the rainfall data come from the Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG), a product of the Global Precipitation Measurement mission.

According to Hal Pierce, a scientist on the GPM team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, the highest rainfall totals exceeded 500 mm (20 inches) in an area just off the southeastern coast.

“Meteorologists in India and abroad attributed the rains to a super-charged northeast monsoon. In the winter, prevailing winds blow from northeast to southwest across the country, which tends to have a drying effect in most places, particularly inland,” the blog post said.

“But those northeasterly winds also blow over the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal, where they evaporate a great deal of moisture from the sea and dump it over southern and eastern India. Coastal eastern India receives 50 to 60 per cent of its yearly rainfall during this winter monsoon,” it said. – NDTV.

Russian Aerospace Force deliver massive missile and bomb strikes on IS facilities in Syria

Over the past 4 days, the Russian aircraft including Tu-22M3 strategic bombers had performed over 300 sorties engaging over 600 targets of different type.

MOSCOW, December 9. The Russian military since December 5 have built up the intensive strikes on facilities of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and other extremist organisations in the territory of Syria, press service of the Russian Defence Ministry said.

Russia’s Tupolev Tu-22m3 strategic bomber from the Mozdok airport, the aviation group from the Khmeimim aerodrome and a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea performed the massive strike.

Over the past 4 days, the Russian aircraft including Tu-22M3 strategic bombers had performed over 300 sorties engaging over 600 targets of different type. “All the flights are carried out under the coverage of fighter aviation – Su-30SM aircraft” the report reads.

“As the combat task was completed, all aircraft returned to their base aerodromes,” the defence ministry said.

“Over the four days, were dropped 1,920 bombs of various kinds, destroyed 70 command centres, the militants’ 21 training bases, 6 ammunition and explosives plants, 43 depots, 6 storage and oil refining facilities, as well as other facilities.”

“For the first time from the underwater position was made a group launch of Kalibr cruise missiles from the Rostov-on-Don submarine,” the press service said. “Destroyed were IS two important command centres in the Raqqa Province.”

The defence ministry said the strikes made conditions for further attack of the Syrian Armed Forces jointly with other military formations in Aleppo, Idlib, mountainous Lattakia and Palmira. – TASS, Russian News Agency.


Russia fires Kalibr missiles at IS positions from sub deployed in the Mediterranean

“It was the first time that Kalibr cruise missiles were fired by the Rostov-on-Don submarine from the Mediterranean Sea,” Russian defense minister reports.

MOSCOW, December 8. Russia has attacked the IS positions with Kalibr missiles fired by the Rostov-on-Don submarine from the Mediterranean Sea, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It was the first time that Kalibr cruise missiles were fired by the Rostov-on-Don submarine from the Mediterranean Sea,” Shoigu said. – TASS, Russian News Agency.

Rajinikanth Calls Off Birthday Celebrations Due To Chennai Floods

CHENNAI:  Superstar Rajinikanth, who turns 64 on Saturday, has requested his fans to call off all birthday celebrations due to Chennai floods.

“As Tamil Nadu is limping back to normalcy after being struck by the worst rains in over a century, Rajinikanth has requested his fans to join hands and help the rain savaged people in relief work,” a source close to the actor told Indo-Asian News Service.

According to the source, the 63-year old star feels extending help to the people of the state is more important than celebrating his birthday.

It is also learnt that the official announcement regarding “Enthiran 2”, which was planned to be announced on the occasion of Rajinikanth’s birthday, has been postponed indefinitely.

Currently shooting for his next Tamil outing “Kabali”, Rajinikanth will be seen playing a gangster in the film.

Scant Relief For Those With Homes Destroyed In Chennai Floods

CHENNAI:  Seventy-year-old Govindasamy, a former milk vendor, is back home, six days after floods struck his hut along the Saidapet Bridge across the Adyar River in Chennai.

The deluge has washed away all his belongings. Tonnes of garbage are now piled up along Karunanidhi Street all the way to his doorstep. The street resembles a garbage dump, ripe with stench and filth that could spread disease. “No help has come. I just sit helplessly,” he said.

Floods in the river ran well above the bridge on the Dec 2.

Chitra, a mother of two is a shattered. There’s nothing left in the cupboard that had all her possessions. Her little children have lost their books. She alleges no official or politician has visited the area. “We just get food. We feel ignored by politicians who run after us during elections,” she said.

Not far away inside her little hut, Jainis sees no hope of salvaging any of her belongings. Her little hut now resembles a cesspool of slush. Her TV, the only electronic gadget she owned, is all but junk. “Except my life I have nothing left” she said.

The Tamil Nadu government has announced that it will give Rs. 10,000 to those who have lost huts and also provide a permanent home. But for now, there seems to be no relief for those who don’t even have a roof over their head.

More than 250 people were killed and thousands displaced as much of Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu were submerged in flood waters after the highest rainfall in nearly a hundred years lashed the state over the past month.

In Chennai Floods, Vishwanathan Anand’s Family Opens Doors To The Homeless

CHENNAI:  As large swathes of Chennai went underwater following torrential rain, chess player Vishwanathan Anand’s family was among those who opened their doors to help those affected.

Even though Mr Anand was in London when the worst of the crisis struck Tamil Nadu, his family gave shelter, food and clothes to residents of a nearby slum, joining host of celebrities like actors Vishal and Siddharth, who helped out during the difficult time.

“After the first round of floods we had some people who were rendered homeless. When the second wave came in in December and people were asked to evacuate low-lying areas, I asked some of the people I knew to move in,” Aruna Anand, wife of the chess champ, told NDTV.

“We had about 15 to 20 people sleeping in our house of whom one or two were pregnant women,” she said.

Refusing to see the gesture as one out of the ordinary, Ms Anand said, “Everyone in Chennai has contributed in whichever way possible. My maid lost her house, lost her belongings but she donated two sarees to the next person who didn’t even have that.”

“There are people who are doing much greater service than what we have done. They are putting their lives at risk standing out, rescuing people from precarious conditions and they really deserve applause for doing such great relief effort,” she said.

Asked about how she managed to feed at a time when essential supplies were in short supply, she said, “Even though water, milk and vegetables were scarce but Aruna said “there was always enough to feed everyone”.

Now that the water has receded and electricity and phone lines are back again, people who had taken shelter have gone home, Aruna said.

More than 250 people were killed and thousands displaced as the century’s worst rain lashed Chennai and many other parts of Tamil Nadu submerging several areas under water. – NDTV.

Chennai Floods: Focus On Preventing Spread Of Disease as Dry Weather Prevails

CHENNAI:  With dry weather prevailing in flood-ravaged Chennai and its neighbourhood, officials are now focusing on relief measures and prevention of spread of diseases.

As the water level in several low lying areas have receded, the Central and state government agencies have undertaken relief measures on a war footing.

Tamil Nadu government has taken steps to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential commodities. Milk supply, which had remained erratic last week, was almost restored completely.

For supply of vegetables the government has opened shops retailing vegetables at cheaper rates.

As there has been erratic supply of fuel and LPG cylinders in city and its neighbourhood, country’s largest oil marketing company, Indian Oil Corporation was operating its plants in full swing for meeting the demand.

Several NGOs and volunteers of various organisations have also taken relief efforts as the focus is now more on spread of epidemic.

Government doctors were visiting severely affected areas to distribute medicine for the residents to safeguard themselves against diarrhoea and other water-borne infections.

As piles of garbage lie in several low lying areas, authorities and various NGO were engaged in clearing it. Corporation of Chennai and other civic bodies have deployed scores of workers to clear debris from the affected areas. The state government has brought in workers from other districts for this purpose.

Educational institutions in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallore remained closed for today also.

The transport system was back to normal with public transport buses plying in all places while rail and air services have been restored since yesterday. – NDTV.